The Mystery Of The Hidden Cabin By M.E. Hembroff [Book Review]

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The Mystery of the Hidden Cabin by M.E. Hembroff | Book Review |

I received a free digital copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.


After Bess Silver had settled into her new home in Pineview she thought her biggest problem would be settling into a new school. She was surprised to learn that it was a one room school house which was different from what she was used to.

That all changed when Megan Skye, her best friend and cousin, dashed into their kitchen late one afternoon with exciting news. Megan’s Father discovered an old cabin, hidden behind a wall, when he started doing kitchen renovations. Megan asked him to take the suitcases, ledgers and trunk they found over to Bess instead of throwing them out. Clues turn up in the suitcases and in a secret compartment in the cabin which leave Bess puzzled.
When she first looked around the cabin she sees a ghostly figure that disappears in an instant but was as real as Megan. Dreams about the cabin and occupants haunt Bess. These feel so real that Bess can’t shake the feeling that she was actually near them.

Who is the figure that Bess saw in the cabin? What is she trying to tell her? Why is she having dreams about the old cabin? Will Bess be able to figure out who the mysterious figure is? Or would these secrets remain secrets forever?

My Review:

Book Cover |

I think the book cover is appropriate for the target age of the book. I enjoy hand-drawn covers anyway but I feel like the colored lines feel complete with the middle-grade genre.

First Thoughts |

I read and reviewed Bess’s Magical Garden and Gramma Mouse Tells A Story by this author. I enjoyed both so was more than happy to read and review this book when she approached me.

Plot |

I thought the plot had an interesting premise. I’m always down for a good ghost story. However, I’ll admit the summary makes it sound more interesting than it really is.

Bess is on the hunt to figure out who was living in the mysterious cabin as she read diary entries, talked to people, and explored the cabin and other places. Though not too much happens in between.

Characters |

I enjoyed the characters. I think Bess makes a great protagonist for a middle-grade audience. Her best friend, Megan, is a fun character as well.

I found all the kids in this book to be fun since Bess’s new school is a one-room schoolhouse. That was an interesting addition.

Writing Style |

While the story flowed well, not much happened. For a mystery, there’s no tension at all. Bess is a curious girl and enjoys searching for clues and solving mysteries, but I didn’t know why I was supposed to care about the cabin and the mystery behind it. Even when the mystery was solved, there was no real triumph.

Overall |

This was a great premise with age-appropriate characters, though I would have loved to see more stakes raised and more tension. It’s a nice quick read.

The Mystery of the Hidden Cabin by M.E. Hembroff gets…
Book Review Rating System | 3 Cups of Coffee | 3 out of 5 cups

Favorite Quote:

“I gazed out the window at the blanket of snow covering the garden, where plants stuck out like skeletons.” –M.E. Hembroff, The Mystery of the Hidden Cabin

Buy the book:

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About M.E. Hembroff:

M.E. Hembroff, Author | Middle Grade | Book Review | RachelPoli.comI grew up in rural Manitoba the fourth in a family of five. My parents were older almost old enough to be grandparents. When I was growing up we didn’t have a TV. I loved music and constantly listened to the radio. My dad often said I wore out the radio because he was constantly taking it into to town to replace the worn out tubes.  I was an avid reader and devoured every available book. One of my favorites was the Anne of Green Gables series. LM Montgomery was and still is my hero. I was creative and used my imagination to entertain myself. I would always dream up stories but never wrote them down because they looked pretty dismal on paper. I have always loved animals and every time I went for a walk our dog, Lady, a border collie and a string of cats followed me. I still have an dog, Odie and two cats Patches and Delihah.

I still like to read and read a wide range of books. I work in my garden and do art work in pencil, pen and ink, colored pencil and acrylic.

I have gone full circle. I grew up on the farm and then lived in the city for over thirty years. I now live in a scenic small town. It took me a long tine to learn to get out of my own way. Once I learned to relax the words started flowing and my characters were finally able to get out of my head.

Artists Statement

Writing is as natural as breathing and makes me a complete person. I was taught to keep my feelings hidden and often hid them from myself. Writing gets me in touch with my creative self, spirit and my inner child who finally can express herself. Writing makes me a rounder and fulfilled person. Writing is a must do not a want to. I have an inner compulsion to write that has to be listened to.

Art work has always been the same. I draw and paint because I have to. Drawing and painting releases pent up emotions and keeps me in touch with my creative side which grows stronger all the time.

There have been different artists and writers who influenced my style at first and I have gone on to develop my own unique style. Reading about other writer’s lives and meeting other artists has given me a great deal of encouragement during periods when I didn’t feel like continuing with my work.

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Gramma Mouse Tells a Story by M.E. Hembroff


Title: Gramma Mouse Tells a Story
Author: M.E. Hembroff
October 2016 by TellWell
Genre: Children’s Picture Book
How I got the book: I received a free digital copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.


Gramma Mouse is visiting and relaxing when her grandbabies beg her to tell them a story.
Tiny, Gramma Mouse, tells them about her trip across the old garden to visit Cousin Mouse.
Tiny struts off staying out of sight at first. Then she pops out to look around and immediately forgets Ma and Pa’s advice. She stops to visit and look around. She receives warnings of approaching danger that she ignores. Tiny is having fun playing and investigating and forgets to watch for danger. She has a few narrow escapes but does learn valuable lessons along the way.

My Review:


The author has contacted me before to read her middle-grade story novel and I enjoyed it. I also love a good children’s book, so I felt Gramma Mouse Tells a Story would be a refreshing read.

However, since this is a picture book, the review won’t be as in-depth as my other reviews. But all the elements are still there.


The main “plot” of this story is that Gramma Mouse, as a young mouse, is trying to journey to Cousin Mouse’s house avoiding the cat, dog, and hawk. It’s a long journey and Tiny, as she used to be called, comes across many creatures, including the cat, dog, and hawk. However, she’s careful as the other creatures around her warn her of the danger. She’s able to hide herself until the danger passes and can continue her journey.

In the end, Tiny makes it to Cousin Mouse’s house and is safe with her friend.


Gramma Mouse is really the only character that we prominently see. Her parents warn her of the danger, but she’s cautious and remembers what her parents had told her before she began her journey. She’s a careful mouse, also listening to the creatures around her and is aware of her surroundings.

Also, having a mouse as the main character as opposed to a human makes the story more child-friendly and unique. I think a mouse was especially a good choice because they’re small and can easily get into danger.


As a preschool teacher, I particularly enjoyed the writing style. Each page throughout Gramma Mouse’s journey is repetitive stating at the end of each page, “it was still a long way to Cousin Mouse’s.” And, “I was getting closer,” and “it wasn’t much further.” It shows just how long the journey really is.

Is also showcases the tension. When Gramma Mouse is hiding from the cat and she mentions that she still has a long way to go, you have to wonder what other danger she’ll get up to.

Also, the illustrations to go along with each page were pretty. They looked to be hand-drawn and the colors were vivid and each picture captured the text wonderfully.


This was a cute story book that I can picture myself reading to my preschoolers at work. It was a quick read, of course, but worth it.

Gramma Mouse Tells a Story by M.E. Hembroff gets…
4 out of 5 stars

Favorite Quote:

“I popped out and looked around. There were interesting things to see.” –M.E. Hembroff, Gramma Mouse Tells a Story

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Bess’s Magical Garden by M.E. Hembroff

Via Goodreads
Title: Bess’s Magical Garden
Author: M.E. Hembroff
Genre: Childrens
How I got the book: I got a free digital copy from the author in exchange for an honest review

Summary (from Goodreads):

Bess’s mother moves them to Pineview, away from her best friend Megan, and she terribly misses her. Six months earlier, Bess’s father died in a car crash, and she’s also in the midst of recovering from the final stages of polio. She’s in a sad and lonely place. From the moment she and her mother settle into their new home, Bess hears whispering voices and encounters a ghostly figure in the well-kept garden and in her dreams. She can’t make sense of everything and so shares her observations with Megan by writing her regular letters. During the summer, she makes new friends, including an orange and white tomcat that she names Pumpkin, and her new neighbour Josie. With the help of Mrs. O’Toole, the woman who watches her, Bess continues to recover, both physically and emotionally. She becomes more and more curious about the garden and the unexplained clues that she finds there. In Bess’s Magical Garden, Bess discovers her own true strengths through enduring life’s struggles. She – with Josie and Megan’s help – also finds some hidden items in the garden, including a map, that leave the girls with more questions than answers. Who was the figure that visited Bess? Will Bess and her friends be able to uncover the garden’s secrets? Or will those secrets be mysteries forever?

My Review:

I read this book in one sitting, but only because it was quick at 81 pages, not because I was very much into the story.

This book is for children and I think it’s important for kids to read. We follow Bess as she and her mother move to a new home. Bess is reluctant at first, just like any kid would be, and she’s trying to overcome some things. She’s recovering from polio and the death of her father.

The garden and her new friend, Pumpkin the cat, help her get through these tough lemons life threw at her. I think the garden is a metaphor to her healing both physically and mentally.

However, throughout most of the story, I didn’t feel as though there was too much going on. The mystery wasn’t really intriguing to me and the story definitely moved along pretty quickly, having to be wrapped up in less than 100 pages.

There were a lot of characters thrown into the mix, some I felt weren’t even really necessary. At the end of each chapter, Bess wrote a letter to her friend Megan. To be honest, I think the story could have been told simply in letters to Megan.

The writing style wasn’t my cup of coffee, but seeing how the book is for kids much younger, I think the writing is pretty spot on.

Overall, this book does have an important message and the main characters were cute.

Bess’s Magical Garden by M.E. Hembroff gets 4 out of 5 stars.

Favorite Quote:

“I think that the garden is magical, because it brought Pumpkin to me and taught me to love my life again.” –M.E. Hembroff, Bess’s Magical Garden